When Baseball America released its list of Top-20 international prospects, Brazilian left-handed pitcher Luiz Gohara sat 7th on their list. Varying reports on his velocity, questions on his level of instruction, level of competition and level of understanding of pitching may have kept him down some, but even BA admitted that the kid had among the best stuff out there.
The Fall Instructional League -- which ran from mid-September to mid-October in Arizona -- was really the first chance for prospect observers and the Mariners' front office and coaching staff ranks to get their eyes on the big lefty. This report breaks down the information that I have collected from various sources that saw him in Arizona.
Rich Dorman gave me the first tidbit on the first day he saw Gohara, saying "The body is very physically mature. He almost looks like a mini-C.C. Sabathia out there."One veteran scout that works Arizona told me, "I heard about 12 teams were at least regularly checking in on him in Brazil since he was 14. Fastball velocity really climbed over the last year and a half. We had reports of him hitting 96, and we saw 94s from him."
Some other comments that I commonly heard where that the body has loads of projection. Long limbs, clean delivery, good motion. Everyone seems to think that adding velocity should be expected.
Dorman gave me this rundown of Gohara, who works from a high three-quarters delivery: "He has a nice four-pitch mix. The fastball plays better than any 16-year-old I've seen around here. The curve ball plays -- he has a good feel for the breaking ball. He's obviously very young, but once he learns how to pitch in situations and when to use his pitches, he has the ability to be very good."
I asked Dorman -- who coached in Everett last season -- how he compared to his top prospect there this year. "Obviously he's a year behind, but I'd say his ceiling is on par with Victor Sanchez. Luiz has his own translator down here and he really listens. I think he has the ability to learn and move quickly."
That is high praise for Gohara, as Sanchez was nearly assigned to the Midwest League last season as a young 17-year-old. Instead he pitched very well in Everett, allowing more than three earned runs in only three of his 15 starts. So does Gohara have the chops to pitch in the Northwest League next season I asked Dorman? "I'd anticipate that he stays here (in Arizona) through Extended (Spring Training) in 2013 and then we could definitely see him in Everett after that."
Sounds like the Mariners have another promising arm on the farm to keep track of.
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